Vera was the ninth child in a family of ten. Her sisters were all much older and as they did not want to add babysitting to their many chores, they chased her outside with the two brothers closest in age to her. They taught her to climb a tree, then promptly ditched her and she said she was up in the tree unable to get down for most of the afternoon.
The area she grew up in was one of the main roman towns and we always said she had to be of roman descent because she had jet black hair which is not a very common English trait.
She grew up in Southampton, England and the sea is a recurring theme in her life. Her grandfather was a seaman on the tall ships, her father was a shipwright who worked on the outfitting of the Titanic. We went to the beach in the English summer. She would walk into the frigid water and float on her back for what seemed like ages.
She won a scholarship to go to college, but war broke out and she had to go into a factory putting together airplanes. She said she was putting bolts into airplane wings and all she could think of was that some poor “blighter” would have to fly a plane that she had built. She eventually signed up for the army. Her birthday came three months later and so did the letter addressed to her father telling him she now belonged to the military. By this time all her brothers were certified shipwrights and too important to the war effort to be allowed to join the military, so she was the only one in her family who joined up. Being one of the very first women in the British army she made Corporal quickly.
She crossed oceans many times. First on a troop ship via the Suez Canal and Ceylon to the Chinese fishing village now known as Hong Kong. Boats carried her back to English shores after a life-threatening illness so bad her mother did not recognize her at the train station when she got back to Southampton. On to Berlin, Germany, then Scotland, back to England and on to the Americas, first California and finally to Texas.
She applied for ack-ack gunnery school during her military service.
She was loving...adored her family and thought constantly of all of them. She did know how to say goodbye.